Colombo, May 23 (newsin.asia): At the Sri Lankan cabinet meeting on Tuesday, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered immediate and strong action “without fear of favor” against anti-Muslim extremists led by the Bodu Bala Sana (BBS), who are behind the on-going attacks on Muslim businesses and properties and mosques in several parts of the island.
According to a press release issued by the National Languages and Dialogue, Mano Ganeshan, President Siriena asked Law and Order Minister, Sagala Ratnayake, not to treat the incidents as a “Muslim” or a sectional problem, but as a law and order problem affecting the country as a whole and take suitable action.
The President angrily asked Ratnayake what was preventing him from taking action. And Prime Minister Ranil Wickrremsinghe directed Ratnayake to make it clear to the area police chiefs that they would be held responsible if they allow any such attacks.
There have been 19 attacks against Muslim businesses and places of worship allegedly by followers of an abrasive Colombo-based Buddhist monk, Ven.Gnanasara Thero. But the police have been turning a blind eye to them as they did when the BBS went on a rampage in 2013 and 2014 during the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Minister Ganeshan said that the Muslims are very apprehensive about the spate of attacks on them and said that the government could lose the support of the Muslims and other minorities if the trend is not arrested. After Ganeshan raised the issue, Muslim Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiutheen and Kabir Hashim, who had been silent earlier, spoke up.
Ganeshan pointed that this government was elected by the overwhelming support of the minorities and that he suspects that forces which are wanting the government to fail are instigating violence against the minorities to alienate them from the government.
BBS chief, Ven.Gnanasara Thero, against whom there is a contempt of court case in Homagama, threatened to go on a protest fast on the issue of his prospective arrest at the Malwatte monastery in Kandy on Sunday. But at the instance of the head of the Asigiriya monastery, he gave up the idea of going on fast.
(The featured image at the top is that of Ven.Gnanasara Thero)